WCC to Install General Secretary

The council's general meeting to discuss issues of public agenda and internal projects
( [email protected] ) Feb 14, 2004 11:48 AM EST

The general secretary to the World Council of Churches will be formally installed during the council's annual meeting, Feb 17-20, 2004. In addition to the inauguration, the WCC will review the progress of work to prepare the next WCC assembly and will consider thier current actions on public issues.

The Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, who took up his post in January, will report to the committee for the fist time as general secretary on the 17th. His official installation will be held at the Ecumenical Centre chapel at 18:00 on Wednesday 18 February.

The current programs undertaken by the WCC Health and Healing desk in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic will be reviewed by the board. Each delegate will subsequently appropriate thier own churches to the intensive work, and configure it to a more ecumenical setting through the Council's networks.

Programs include Ecumenical HIV/AIDS Initiative in Africa (EHAIA) and other regional and global HIV/AIDS activities, all of which will be profiled for the executive committee. Each of the programs aim at bridging a perceived gap between policy and action in the AIDs cause.

Other public issues that will be placed at the forum include nuclear disarmament, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the situation in Sudan, Zimbabwe, India & Pakistan. On the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it will consider the position of churches in Israel and the Occupied Territories and of the Middle East Council of Churches, the status of the US-sponsored "road map", the "Geneva Initiative" and other alternative peace plans, and the implications of Israel's construction of a so-called "security fence".

The executive committee also plans to review all the work undertaken by the WCC since last thier last meeting, August 2003. The board will review the council's financial situation, and organizational questions including procedures for applying a consensus model of reaching decisions. The committee will also be asked to approve the procedure for WCC central committee to replace one of eight WCC presidents, Rev. Kathryn K. Bannister from the USA, who has announced her decision to step down from the co-presidency for personal reasons

Other actions taken during the meeting will be to prepare for the council's ninth assembly in Proto Alegre, Brazil in 2006. Besides reviewing developments in the assembly programme, it will decide how many delegates member churches are to send to the assembly; for each church, that number will be based on membership figures submitted on or before 31 January 2004. It will also set the policy on subsidies for assembly attendance, and consider other assembly-related finance matters.